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  • Writer's pictureSandstone Wealth Management

Feeling Stressed? Take A Walk!


national walking day

If you’re feeling stressed, depressed, or unable to come up with creative ideas at work, you may want to take a walk. Your doctor probably won’t prescribe walks for you, but “Walking is the closest thing we have to a wonder drug,” according to Dr. Thomas Frieden, former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


What’s great about this “wonder drug” is no special equipment, training, or prescription is required—and it can be done inside or outside. (Also, no dogs are needed, but they may provide extra incentive.) Walking just 30 minutes each day can improve your cardiovascular fitness, reduce excess body fat, strengthen bones, and boost your muscle power and endurance.Make sure you’ve chosen comfortable shoes that are designed specifically for walking.


 

The Mayo Clinic: The faster, farther, and more frequently you walk, the greater the benefits Walking isn’t complicated, and walking regularly at a brisk pace helps you do the following:


  • Improve your mood, cognition, memory and sleep

  • Maintain a healthy weight and lose body fat

  • Reduce stress and tension

  • Strengthen your immune system

  • Prevent or manage certain conditions, such as heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, cancer, and type 2 diabetes

  • Improve cardiovascular fitness

  • Improve your balance and coordination

  • Strengthen your muscles and bones

  • Increase energy levels

  • Improve muscle endurance


As the Mayo Clinic reports, the farther, faster, and more frequently you walk, the greater the benefits. There are also benefits to alternating periods of brisk walking with leisurely walking.


 

Harvard study shows additional benefits of brisk walking Harvard researchers who studied 32 obesity-promoting genes in more than 12,000 people discovered that study participants who walked briskly for about an hour a day were less likely to experience the effects of those genes. In fact, the effects of those obesity promoting genes were cut in half.


The benefits of walking shared in the Harvard Study include:


  • It can reduce cravings for sugary snacks.

  • It reduces the risk of developing breast cancer.

  • It eases joint pain.

  • It boosts your immunity, making you less likely to get sick.


Be careful not to walk “too much” If you’re just starting a walking routine, don’t push yourself too hard. You may want to start with 15 minutes of walking at an easy pace, adding a few minutes each week until you’re able to walk 30 minutes at a brisk pace, and can speak in full sentences without breathing heavily.


Also, make sure you’re using the right posture, foot motion, stride, and arm movement, which will reduce your chances of developing pain.


The health resource Verywell Fit recommends the following:


  • Walking posture: Level hips, no slouching

  • Arm motion: Bent elbows and a natural arm swing

  • Foot motion: Roll from heel to toe

  • Walking stride: Push off with your rear foot, don’t overstride


 

Benefits for older adults: The May 2023 AARP Bulletin promotes the benefits of walking to help facilitate new brain cells, boost creativity, enhance your mood, and reduce the risk of cognitive decline. It appears a regular walking routine is win/win for everyone.

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